The Hunger – Flash Fiction by Shaun Allan

I’m so chuffed to welcome by friend and ‘stable mate’ Shaun Allan to the blog today. He’s written a fabulous flash fiction piece and although it’s the last day of the Heart Search Blog Tour, it’s also All Hallow’s Eve. So what better way to celebrate than by having a scary story to sink your teeth into?

The Hunger

I heard the sound, loud in the still of the night.

Well, it wasn’t exactly still…  Cars went by, people huddled down against the cold, lights were on in houses and shops were closing up for the day.  Shutters were pulling down, the windows’ eyelids closing for their night-time slumber.

In winter, when your breath takes form and your hands battle your money for dominion in your pockets, the night takes over from the day at a time just when everyone actually needs it.  To walk from work or school.  To drive home.  To feel safe.

But, though that world was spinning down to rest, the cold made the air crisp and clear.

And sound travelled on it like a surfer on a wave.

It was… odd.

You know when you recognise a voice, but can’t place whose it is?  It was like that, except no-one spoke.  It was more than simply a random noise, slipped from the dark.  It had substance.  Ownership.

But… I couldn’t place it.  It was, in fact, out of place.  Unusual in that you wouldn’t and shouldn’t hear it whilst walking down a street in the evening.

It was… eating.  Crunching with a side order of slurping.

I stopped.  I was the only one.  Other pedestrians went on the way, some alone, some in couples or groups.  One or two looked at me as if I was a mad for stopping so randomly.  As if I’d insulted them by daring to waver in my walking.  They continued on their way, however.  Unheeding and unhearing.

The alleyway sucked the light from the atmosphere, hungrily devouring it, seemingly gaining sustenance from the illumination – a deeper darkness in contrast to the glow of the streetlights.  It felt heavy.  It felt, somehow, material.

The sounds of hunger were not coming from the night, however.  Thankfully.  Well, I suppose ‘thankfully’.  They were coming from further in.  Further back.

They would be, naturally.

I should leave it.  It’s a dog.  A cat.  Maybe a lion, for all I knew, escaped from a travelling circus.

No, it was none of these.  Not even the lion.  It wasn’t so random.  It didn’t feel like an animal.

Perhaps some homeless man huddled in the shadows, hiding from the cold and the world.  If so, I’d offer a few coins and be on my way.  The mist of our combined breaths would mingle, akin to a shake of the hand as I did my good deed and felt a little saintlier.

In for a few coins, in for a pound of flesh…

I pulled my hands from my pockets, where they’d been duelling with a couple of fifty pence pieces, with a two pound coin being the referee.  All the better to defend myself, my dear.  Just in case, you know?

The cold air nibbled at my fingers like tiny Piranhas and I wanted to shove them back into my jeans.  I didn’t, though.  Nor did I carry on walking.  I was being drawn in, my curiosity overpowering my reason with a face-hugging pillow.

I waded through the cloying darkness, the sounds of feasting making my own stomach grumble in sympathy.  My eyes adjusted quickly as I walked, enough that I could avoid the empty beer cans and puddles of what I assumed wasn’t simply water.

There was a big bin.  A general waste container for the businesses around.  Practically the size of a skip, with bulging black bags piled around it, the bin watched me as I approached.  I felt it judging me.

“Idiot,” it was thinking.

I tended to agree, but I couldn’t stop my feet as their steps carried me on.

Then, I saw.

On the floor, a woman.  Or what was left of one.  The darkness deemed the scene worthy of allowing some moonlight in.  I could see her long hair.  I could see the swell of a breast beneath her coat and a heel, snapped from the sole of the shoe she was wearing, hanging loosely.

I could see a pool of blood spreading, reaching towards me, beseeching me to save her.  Too late.  I could tell.  The gaping hole at her waist was proof enough.

That was the sound.  That was what was being eaten.

The figure bent over her, crouching, heard my gasp before I’d realised I’d uttered one.  It stood quickly and turned to me, blood smeared across its face.

I always thought they were just in the movies.  Along with vampires and werewolves and witches.  I always thought they were something to shoot in the games on my phone.

They’re not.

I always thought they’d have dead eyes, too.  Their brain would have rotted away taking all but the need to eat the living along with it.

That’s what I thought.

I was wrong.

They’re not just in the movies.

And their eyes aren’t dead.  They have a fire in them.  An intent.  A hunger.

The zombie lunged.

I don’t know about any of you, but I’m going to steer well clear of alleys today! Thank you so much for sharing that with us today, Shaun.

Stay safe during Samhain and don’t become monster chow or vampire fodder!

* * *

Shaun Allan

A creator of many prize winning short stories and poems, Shaun Allan has written for more years than he would perhaps care to remember. Having once run an online poetry and prose magazine, he has appeared on Sky television to debate, against a major literary agent, the pros and cons of internet publishing as opposed to the more traditional method. Many of his personal experiences and memories are woven into the point of view and sense of humour of Sin, the main character in his best-selling novel of the same name, although he can’t, at this point, teleport.

A writer of multiple genres, including horror, humour and children’s fiction, Shaun goes where the Muse takes him – even if that is kicking and screaming.

Shaun lives with his wife, daughters, cats and fish. Oh and a manic dog. Though his life might, at times, seem crazy, he is not.

Honest.

Sin is now published by Fantasy Island Book Publishing and is available in print and as an ebook!Dark Places is now published under Myrddin Publishing Group and is available as an ebook. Print version coming soon!

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I Am Blessed! (Blog Tour – week 3)

It’s not until you undertake something like a Blog Tour that you realise just how supportive the writing community is and what good friends you’ve made during your journey.

Every single cast member of my Blog Tour have gone out of their way to promote not only their own posts, but those of others in the tour. Each person has presented their posts in a wonderful and appealing way to give followers and readers the best experience they can. Some have been rather creative in their presentations too, which is only to be expected really as we writers are a creative bunch! [chuckles]

On social media platforms, mainly Twitter and Facebook, information has been shared and retweeted by other authors not taking part in the Blog Tour – such is the ethos in the writing world: Authors Helping Authors. I’ve been gobsmacked by the support I’ve received thus far and we still have a week of the tour to go! What other surprises have they in store for me? I can’t help but wonder.

I truly feel blessed to be part of such a wonderful community and thank everyone for their fabulous efforts on my behalf in bringing news of Heart Search: Lost to the world.

We’ve only got one week to go until the climax of the tour on All Hallows Eve, so let’s finish this as we started, with lots of noise and an almighty BANG! And if you haven’t entered the fab giveaway yet, get in quick! The answer you seek is in my previous post and the link for the giveaway is in the sidebar! Good Luck!

Heart Search Blog Tour – week 2

Hi Everyone,

Wow! What an amazing first week on the Blog Tour. Not only has everyone involved been posting and promoting (thank you all so much), but Heart Search: Lost has received 5-star reviews on both sides of the pond.

As we’ve now moved into week 2, there’s plenty more to feast the eyes on; more excerpts, interviews, reviews and guest posts written by yours truly. All cast members are doing a fantastic job of showcasing each item for your enjoyment. And don’t forget, every excerpt, interview and guest post is totally unique and has been written or picked solely for the Tour.

We’re also getting entries into the Giveaway, which is fabulous. I’m excited at the prospect of sending swag out to deserving winners and with that in mind, I’m re-posting the Heart Search; Lost Prologue below to make it even easier to answer the question. So without further ado, here it is:

His hiding place was perfect; darkness surrounded and comforted him and he became one with it. He had chosen well. The ancient ruins were totally hidden by overgrown shrubs and trees. From this place, he could venture out before dusk, completely obscured by the dense canopy of the primordial trees; the sun struggled to break through even at midday.

He was close, closer than ever before; so close the flavour of the human’s essence coated his sensitive tongue. The one sought was nearby – he could sense him. He had searched for a very long time to find someone this special. Sure he’d found talent along the way, but this one, this human was something else entirely.

The excitement was building inside like a volcano preparing to erupt. His tongue ran over his teeth; venom pooled in his mouth and he savoured the flavour. There would be a new flavour to add to it soon. Very soon.

He first detected the scent two days ago. Unfortunately, an opportunity had not presented itself and he had become frustrated to the point of anger as strategy after strategy was thwarted by the most stupid and pointless of reasons. He was tenacious when there was something he desired and right now there was nothing he desired more than this human. There was a plentiful supply around to quench his thirst – that was not his aim.

His reverie was interrupted – a familiar scent wafted on the air that permeated the shelter. It was the human – the one he sought – and so near, too near to be allowed to escape again. Once more venom collected in his mouth.

He moved swiftly through the darkness with perfect vision towards the exit hidden amongst the foliage. The closer he got to the outside, the stronger the scent, and the more eager he became.

It was time.

Okay, so click the link of the Rafflecopter Giveaway on the sidebar to enter. To buy a copy of Heart Search: Lost, click on the cover to be taken straight to Amazon.

Thank you to everyone who has bought a copy so far – I really hope you like it! I hope you enjoy all the tasty titbits we have in store for you this week. There’s definitely plenty to sink your teeth into!

Humbling Experiences

Hi Everyone,

They say ‘curiosity killed the cat’, but not this feline! In fact it’s quite the opposite. Let me explain.

I decided to go onto Amazon UK earlier and was gobsmacked to see two 5-star reviews posted against my book. http://amzn.to/SRygGD Then I visited Amazon.com and lo and behold I found another two 5-star reviews http://amzn.to/RfqpU8

To find these just two days after Heart Search: Lost was launched was an amazing yet humbling experience. Just the thought that my work had brought sufficient joy to the reader that they would take time out of their busy lives to post reviews, caused a lump in my throat.

Of course I want people to love my book, that goes without saying, but I’m not the egotistical-type who now thinks the sun shines out of my butt, quite the opposite! It’s an experience I will treasure for all time and I sincerely thank those kind readers for their wonderful words.

WOW!!! Launch Day Surprises

Hi Everyone,

Launch Day for Heart Search: Lost was amazing!!! Not only did we have the scheduled posts for the Blog Tour, we had some unexpected ones too. I hope you all managed to catch at least 2 or more of the great posts made and got a chance to enter the Giveaway (you may notice I’ve now got it in my sidebar – click on it to take you to my publisher’s page to enter). If you missed any of the posts from yesterday, here are the links:

Review by Joy Keeney http://wp.me/pZnWx-3X

Excerpt at Maria V A Johnson’s site  http://wp.me/s2wsj4-hurray

Interview by Joan Hazel http://bit.ly/Q8cu3e

Excerpt at Laura Thomas’s site http://bit.ly/Oi3DxD

Guest post at JB Lacaden’s site http://bit.ly/R00oru

Announcement at Myrddin Publishing http://bit.ly/VJwuOm

Surprise post by Connie J Jasperson http://wp.me/p1pa44-lU

There’s plenty more lined up between now and the end of the month so keep checking in (each day’s posts will be advertised on Twitter and my Facebook page)! You can even buy Heart Search: Lost with a click from this site. Check the sidebar under the giveaway!

Thank you to everyone for your fantastic support yesterday and for making the day so special for me. Let’s keep the momentum going right until the last day ends. LET’S MAKE SOME NOISE!!!

HEART SEARCH: LOST Launch and Giveaway

Hi Everyone,

I can’t believe the day has finally arrived – YIPPEE!!!! Heart Search – book one: Lost is now available from Amazon UK http://amzn.to/PhC0Gu and Amazon US http://amzn.to/OLwU59

The Blog Tour begins today as does the Rafflecopter Giveaway. If you want to win one of the amazing prizes, visit one of the host blogs, visit my publisher website at http://myrddinpublishinggroup.com, enter here or do all of them to increase your chances! Good Luck and I hope you enjoy the Tour!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Heart Search Blog Tour List

Hi Everyone!

I was going to post this yesterday, but I felt I just had to celebrate the site’s 1st birthday so this got moved to today instead!

Here is the entire list of contributor blogs for the Blog Tour as promised:

mousesroar.blogspot.co.uk
 mariavajohnson.com
freshfantasyfiction.blogspot.co.uk
alisondeluca.com
neverjudgeabookbyitscovers.blogspot.co.uk
donnalsadd.wordpress.com
bestinfantasy.blogspot.com and Life In The Realm Of Fantasy
racheltsoumbakos.blogspot.com.au
nicolefaithhill.blogspot.com
stephenswartz.blogspot.com
kateinla51.blogspot.com
anovelperspective.wordpress.com
joykeeney.wordpress.com
adarasdreams.blogspot.co.uk
shortsweetandsnappy.wordpress.com
whatisthenever.blogspot.com
jblearnstowrite.com
mcswainandbeck.wordpress.com
mwrussellbooks.com
thecollegecrawl.blogspot.com
joan-hazel.blogspot.com
cmskiera.blogspot.com
MadelineDyer.co.uk
cericlark.com
terriglong.com/blog
dreamersloversandstarvoyagers.blogspot.com
fuonlyknew.wordpress.com

They are all hyperlinked for you, so go visit and see what each one is doing.

Every single day throughout the Tour there will be at least two blog posts;

Reviews of the book plus, Excerpts, Interviews and Guest Posts written by yours truly!

I hope you all have a ball – I know I’m going to!

LET’S MAKE SOME NOISE – HEART SEARCH: LOST LAUNCHES TOMORROW!!!